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What Happens in the Bathroom, Stays in the Bathroom

What Happens in the Bathroom, Stays in the Bathroom

Have you ever tried to give three babies a bath at the same time? And if so, have you ever pulled it off successfully (he asked with hope)? Because if you have, Caroline and I would like some pointers. All we seem to be getting are floaters. And as far as we can remember, there is no nursery rhyme that reads “Rub-a-dub-dub,a turd in the tub.” The first time the aqua deuce reared its ugly head, my neat-freak wife nearly fainted before finally pulling it together and embarking on a thorough, house-wide search, but alas, not one single biohazard suit could be found. “Who did it?” I asked, as I corralled the kids while Caroline drained the tub. “How in the world should I know? There are three of them.” She had a point. Figuring out which of our triplets was the defecating daredevil was, at best, a crap shoot. (sorry) The next night, it happened on my watch. Though I didn’t see anything that would incriminate any of the three, I immediately ruled out Kirby, if for no other reason than the mere thought of my sweet baby girl taking a shit in the bath tub was enough to make me move in with my therapist for the rest of my life. So I focused on my boys. I had a feeling it was Sam. After all, his body of work was clearly that of a little joker. I tried to stare the truth out of him, but he just stared right back with a wise-guy grin that said Prove it, big boy. So I set my sights on Jack. And he…splashed me in the face. I had to come to grips with one simple fact — I had no leverage. And without it, I’d get no scoop on who dropped the poop. Luckily for us, Sam, Jack, and Kirby love baths, and the abrupt conclusions of said baths due these unidentified efforts soon rendered such efforts obsolete. Relieved, I thought that our scatological nightmares were behind us. That is until the boys made a little discovery. Ah, the penis. Fascinating extensions of both man and mankind, no? Without them, it’d be impossible to create any more of these intoxicating flaps of skin. But, perhaps even more importantly, without them, Sam and Jack would have nothing to relentlessly yank on during bath time. Kirby? She plays with plastic...

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Potties, Pigeons and Bribes: Summer Done Right

It’s early September now. Although fall isn’t officially here, it’s peeking its head around the corner in anticipation. A cool day here and there. Meaningless preseason football games are on television and more importantly, says my wife, the children are back at school.  With the changing seasons, now is a good time for me to take stock of our summer successes and failures. We’re light on the successes but we’re entertaining. Successes Anytime you return from a family vacation with all of your children and without picking up any stray children along the way, you’ve had a successful family vacation. The highlight of the trip for me was a return to my old stomping grounds and spending time in the beautiful Northwest. The highlight for my wife:  seeing my reaction to eight straight days with the kids. Of course, the best part for the kids was spending time at the pools in the various hotels. I dare any of you to show me a kid that doesn’t love a hotel swimming pool. A kid that doesn’t love a hotel swimming pool is as rare as a kid that hates fruit snacks. Because I wrote about the vacation in excruciating detail earlier this summer, I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Those that know me, know that for years my arch enemy has been the gaggle, swarm, pride, flock of pigeons that roost on the roof of my house. They do their business on my roof and it collects there in large piles. I tried knocking the pigeons off the roof with a high powered hose, I threw tennis balls and dirt clods at them. All for naught. Often times, at the sight of a flying tennis ball or dirt clod, they simply turned their backs to me. They taunted me. It was an epic battle; a battle the pigeons had been winning for a year and a half. I spent a Saturday morning in a hardware/outdoor store looking for pigeon killing gear. They had poison for mice, rats, bats and even raccoons, but nothing for my friends the pigeons.  Desperate for resolution of the conflict, I decided to turn to the professionals. Honestly, I even looked into hiring a falconer. After an exhausting search, I found my hit men. They started with spikes on the roof and then they resorted to poison corn. When I was told they...

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Summer “Vacation” with Kids (cont)

Page 1 | 2 … so maybe she’s gotten used to the work that goes into it, but I was still impressed. She rarely got frazzled when The Boy insisted on poking his younger sister despite numerous warnings against such behavior. She never threatened to cut the trip short and drive everyone straight home in the rental car. As far as I can remember, the only mistake she made was giving the youngest a chocolate ice cream cone when the youngest was wearing an all-white outfit. I then thought I would do her a favor and wash that outfit and put it in the washer with a black sweatshirt thereby turning the white outfit gray and forcing my wife to drag all the kids to back to Gymboree for a new outfit the day they returned — the cycle of life in our house.  Don’t get me wrong. We had an absolutely fabulous time in Oregon despite all the work. Our trip was almost exactly like the 80’s classic Summer Rental, starring John Candy, without the regatta race, severe sunburn and the classic 80’s montage of the family rebuilding the boat. I don’t want to bore you with all the travel details, but let me share a few highlights with you: •    We took the kids to see the apartment we lived in while I attended graduate school in Eugene because we felt it was important for them to see where the madness began. You should have seen how excited the kids got when we showed them apartment buildings. If they weren’t fastened securely in seat belts, I’m sure they would have jumped out of the moving car.  •    Having completely brainwashed The Boy regarding the only college football and basketball team that is he allowed to cheer for while living under my roof, The Boy was thrilled to finally see what all fuss was about and he agrees now that my brainwashing him was a good idea.  •    We eventually made it to the coast, where we enjoyed some great time at the beach hanging out with family over bonfires, hiking through the forests, avoiding the 30 degree water at all costs and preventing Sweet Pea and The Boy from falling off large, un-roped cliffs.  •    We consumed roughly 12 gallons of Tillamook ice cream per person. Which was close to a family record.•    While crabbing (yeah, that’s right...

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Summer “Vacation” with Kids

We made it back from our family trip, which is very different from a vacation, and I’m pleased to report we returned home with all of our luggage and all of our children. Which is a pretty amazing feat.  We’d been gone for two days when my wonderful wife reminded me that it has been five years since I took a vacation that consisted of something more than just an extended weekend. “Certainly that can’t be right” was my response. I tried to prove her wrong, but after about day five of the trip, I realized that she was right, because I would most definitely remember spending five straight days with the kids. All day with three kids is hard, hard work. It’s hard. Really hard. Did I mention it’s hard? Things started easy enough. There were only 20 of us on the flight to Portland so we had almost the entire plane to ourselves so my youngest could talk and scream, mostly scream, all she wanted and we only had to apologize to 20 people instead of the usual 130. Getting what seemed like 12 bags of luggage, one of which contained nothing but dolls for the youngest one, from the terminal to the rental car agency was more work than getting The Boy to eat a creamy chicken dinner. My wife had to then watch the three kids and mountains of luggage while I did the rental car dance where a certain agency tried to tell me that Ford Escort was considered “similar” to a Ford Escape. In their defense, both vehicles were Fords and they both had four wheels. We walked to the rental car agency next door and after some masterful negotiations we found a sweet deal on a car that allowed us to fit the luggage (all of it) in the car while only having to leave one child on the roof. Unfortunately for us, the rental car agency had a surprise for us when we returned the car and rental car agencies are now one spot above America’s Next Top Model in my list of Top 10 things I really, really, really don’t like (I’m trying to teach my kids not to use the word “hate”). Once in the rental car we were dealing with a screaming 20 month old who was all jacked up on the candy we bribed her with on...

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Hard Questions for a Single Dad

As a single dad who has primary custody, and an ex-wife who has not been seen or heard from in over seven years, things come up which I have little or no idea how to address. You see I can always get through the cuts and scrapes, the “she is not my friend” conversations and even the looks I get from mothers on the “Mommy and Me” days at school. The rough part is looking my child dead in the face and answering the question that still haunts me: “Daddy, I miss my mommy. Why didn’t my mommy want me?” The question itself is an easy one when adults are speaking. Someone always assumes that an affair was involved, or some kind of drug addiction, or even a possible level of abuse by the adult enters the mind. The answer is simple enough. There was a divorce, and custody battle, and I was awarded custody. Her mother left so she wouldn’t have to be reminded of the responsibilities that still remain. However to a beautiful and innocent seven-year-old mind, those explanations don’t come into play. To the child, when every other kid has a mother to call on, this becomes incredibly more complex. As a single father I look at my female counterparts in amazement that they have been dealing with this for so many years. When dealing with discrimination in the workforce, the ability to be strong as a head of the household and carrying out the expected motherly compassion, not go to bed crying every night is truly something that every person should applaud. All I ask is that we men who are dealing with the same obstacles get similar credit. There are many of us out there fighting the same demons. And because of that, there are those of us who truly appreciate you. I understand that women for the most part are the primary caregivers in divorces. I also understand that the term “deadbeat dad” came about for a reason. However, that only means that my situation, and that of dads like me, is more important to our children. I would never allow this precious soul to be damaged by the ugliness of her parents’ actions during a divorce. I also feel as though I am responsible for encouraging her inner strength so she may develop into a strong, self-confident woman. The truth is I...

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My Wife’s Deliberation

The stars aligned this weekend to allow my wife to take our oldest daughter and The Boy to a movie. What movie they saw, whether The Boy had to use the bathroom during the last five minutes of the movie like he usually does and whether the Junior Mints were frozen or not is irrelevant. The most interesting aspect of the movie occurred before the family even left the house. Before going to the movie, my wife decided to purchase the tickets online so she could get reserved seating (if you live in an area with theatres that do not offer reserved seating, I weep for you). Easy right? You wish. My wife is wonderful at many, many things. However, making decisions, no matter how small, is not one of her strengths. Should they see the 3-D or 2-D version? The 4:00 or the 4:30 show? Sit on the third row with 3-D or tenth row with the 2-D show? It was a twenty minute conversation. One of our favorite date night activities is to go out to dinner without the kids. There is nothing quite like enjoying a good meal that doesn’t involve ketchup, chicken nuggets and Sprite in a cup with a lid. Okay, I confess, even when we go without the kids, ketchup is still present. I can’t help that fact I married a “dipper.” After sitting down, we both open the menus and pour over the options. I know I’m getting something that doesn’t have chicken and my decision is made quickly. My date, however, doesn’t stop at the menu. She asks the waiter for recommendations and then frequently ignores the waiter, goes back to the menu, asks my opinion, changes her mind a couple hundred times, asks the waiter for alternatives and then she blurts out the last thing on her mind when the waiter comes for the order. The waiter leaves and then the buyer’s remorse sets in and she questions her meal choice until it arrives. I tease her about her inability to make decisions. And I do so completely ignoring the fact that although slow with her decisions, she nails them 9 times out of 10. I’m the exact opposite. I shoot from the hip and rarely hit my target. Actually, I rarely come within 10 feet of the target. It’s like I’m shooting blindfolded after spending three straight hours on...

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